INdeep with Karen Hager
INdeep is a monthly series of interviews with people that inspire me. They may be coaches, healers, teachers or wellbeing advocates and experts. I ask these guiding lights to share their stories of darkness, fear, growth and triumph that have lead them along their journey and I then ask them to go deep… sharing their current struggles and secrets that they don’t normally share with the world.
Stories of courage, honesty, vulnerability and the abolishment of “perfect”.
Every month we will have a rare opportunity to see the person behind the teacher, the human behind the bright lights and struggles that have lead to their success. You won’t want to miss these intimate musings that are not often shared beyond covert journal entries.
This month I spoke with intuitive guide, Karen Hager
Tell us what you do.
I’m an intuitive guide and spiritual teacher. I connect with people one-on-one and in classes to help awaken their natural intuition, gain awareness about how to heal the wounds they carry, and receive clarity about their next steps. I host a radio show that lets me connect each week with some of the most interesting authors, teachers and healers on the planet. I have a wonderful wife, two astonishing children, a rambunctious dog, and plenty of yarn to knit with. I am one lucky woman.
How did you find your path to help and inspire others?
I was aware of my intuitive abilities from a young age, but was so terrified of being different … of having people think I was weird … that I actively shut everything down.
As a child, I became involved in theatre, and my experiences as an actor over the next three decades were a fantastic outlet for the intuition and empathy that I thought I was successfully repressing.
In my twenties, I had a deep spiritual experience that led me to the Episcopal Church, and a few years later I entered seminary with the intention of being ordained as a priest. This process takes many years, and involves a great deal of discernment. It was a huge undertaking to get all the approval and credits and experience and training I needed to continue in the ordination process.
And yet, once I was approved as a postulant for ordination, I received a very strong “knowing” that I was to step off this path and work in a wider way with people of all faiths.
I was angry (and stubborn!), and I resisted that inner knowing. I was determined to complete the process no matter what. But as often happens in my life, Spirit knows better … and I found myself having to withdraw from seminary because of physical health challenges that made it impossible for me to continue.
And yet, there was no big reveal … no miraculous understanding of what I’d left seminary for, or what I was supposed to do. In the years that followed, my partner and I became adoptive moms to our two beautiful sons. We both worked in the publishing industry and got pretty comfortable with our conventional “grown-up” lives.
But Spirit wasn’t done nudging me, and in 2007 I underwent a physical health crisis that brought me to the edge. I had three surgeries in 13 months, and after each one of those procedures I noticed that my intuition was stronger … harder to shut down … than it had been before. After the third surgery, I realized I had a choice to make.
I could accept my intuition, use the tools I’d gained from all my life experience, and begin to serve the Divine and help people … or I could shut everything down again and let it die within me.
My fear of being seen as weird, of people making fun of me, came surging back. Just like I was a child again. But this time I said yes.
Yes, I will open up to my intuitive abilities … even if it means I’m crazy or that people will think I’m crazy.
Yes, I believe in the Divine connection that flows through us all … and I’m willing to commit to a path of service.
Yes, I will learn and listen and be open to whatever Spirit has to teach me. No more shutting down. No more hiding.
Are any of those old challenges still playing out for you?
Yes, every day! I’ve come to understand that this is all a process. I work with people all over the world, I’m on the radio every week, and I appear as a guest teacher and speaker anywhere I can. But I’m still worried that people won’t like me, or that I won’t be able to handle the challenges that come up.
What’s different for me now is that I know that it’s absolutely essential for me to show up exactly as I am. And I've learned how beautifully everything opens up around me when I do that.
Showing up authentically, even if it’s scary, is the only way to truly follow my path, to live my life.
I work every day to acknowledge and shift my own self-criticism, which has held me back much more than anything anyone else ever said or did to me. And it’s a process. Every day, every hour, with every breath.
Tell us about a recent challenge that you’ve been facing in private.
This is stuff I haven’t shared publicly, so here goes.
In the last year, I’ve been experiencing some health challenges that are confusing my doctors and making me cranky. The most difficult one to deal with is a balance problem that makes me walk (as my older son told me) like Captain Jack Sparrow! There are things growing in my thyroid that shouldn’t be there, and something’s gone terribly wrong with my heart rate.
What’s worst of all for me is that I look and sound like I’m not healthy. People can tell when they see me weaving down the street that something’s not quite right. The thyroid growths affect my vocal quality, which is a big deal when you’re on the radio every week and connecting over the phone with students and clients.
The physical issues have meant that I’ve had to make changes in the way I relate to clients and students (like canceling planned teaching engagements and travel). It’s also meant that I’ve had to adjust to a dramatically decreased energy level and a battery of irritating and invasive tests.
I cannot hide. And so I’m being challenged again to step forward and be seen, just as I truly am in this present moment.
What is the next step for you?
I commit to being powered by joy, not exhaustion or fear. I commit to reaching for resourcefulness and kindness and flexibility even when I want to throw a tantrum (or while I’m throwing one). I commit to allowing myself to rest when needed. That’s a huge one for me.
My sense is that I’m being challenged to once and for all deal with my fear of being judged harshly, of being embarrassed. There are things that can’t be covered up … that shouldn’t be covered up. One of the bravest things I did this year was to tell the students in the healing class I teach about what was going on with me. Who wants to learn about releasing old habits and healing negative patterns from someone who is struggling with her health? Will anyone listen to me if they find out I’m not perfect?
It turned out that my students and community came together to support me because … surprise! When I show up authentically, when I am not afraid to tell the truth, I step into that Divine flow and it allows others to do the same.
I’m finding that when I connect with things exactly as they are, when I stay in the present moment, when I practice self-care and kindness, my creativity and intuition and energy just soar!
Funny, because that’s exactly what I would tell someone who came to me asking for advice about a situation like this.
Intuitive Karen Hager works privately with clients from all over the world to provide compassionate, no-nonsense Spirit-led guidance for people in transition. Karen also leads intuitive development classes and teaches on topics that empower people to listen to their own inner guidance. She’s the creator of the Breathe, Love, Live healing method of identifying and releasing energetic blocks.